May 19, 2019 - Pastor Message08/24/2019
YEAR OF PRAYER PART 15: THE MARIAN MONTH
“Then the angel said to Mary, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end’” (Luke 1:3033).
The Church has traditionally designated the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary. While Marian devotion is encouraged throughout the year, May is set aside in a special way to urge such devotion. The roots of this tradition stretch back to the ancient Church and its response to pagan spring rituals. Many pagan cultures believed in goddesses whose feasts they celebrated in the spring, praying for the goddesses to drive out the darkness and death of winter and to bless the new spring growth.
These practice persisted into the middle ages, when the Tricesimum, or “Thirty Days,” of devotion to Mary developed. This practice originally took place in the late summer, but was eventually transferred to the month of May, no doubt to replace the residual pagan practices still being observed. Its popularity spread and became the norm by the nineteenth century.
We do not believe that Mary is a goddess. She is a human being, just like you and me, but God chose her and blessed her in a unique way among all people to be conceived without the burden of original sin and to become the mother on Earth of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. If Christ is our king, then his mother is our Queen, which is the origin of the tradition of the May Crowning. In fact, many images of Mary, including the statue in our church, depict her wearing a crown. This symbolizes more than our reverence for Mary; it reminds us of the future we all hope to obtain as members of his Body, the Church, and sharers in his glory. Where Mary has gone before, we hope to follow. May our celebration of Mary’s month increase our hunger for that future, and may her prayers win for us the grace to obtain it. Mary, our Queen, pray for us.
Fr. Marc Stockton